The government has announced a support package for training FE staff that includes tax-free bursaries worth up to £26,000 for teachers.
Eligible shortage subjects include maths, sciences, engineering, manufacturing, computing and English, with funding also available for teachers training to teach learners with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) in 2020-21. A total of £11 million is being made available in grants and bursaries.
The news comes a year after it was announced that the previous bursary scheme was being scrapped.
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According to the Department for Education, the value of the bursaries will be matched with those offered upfront for teacher training in schools, where available – and so a maths, science, engineering and manufacturing or computing bursary will be worth £26,000. Meanwhile, an English bursary will attract £12,000, and a bursary for a teacher of learners with SEND will be worth £15,000.
The government's support package, announced today, also includes grants to FE providers for trainees who are training in-service, so undertaking paid teaching employment at the same time as training, in high-priority shortage subjects in the FE sector in England.
Eligible subjects for this scheme include maths, English and those teaching learners with SEND. The grants, worth £18,200, will help provide trainees with a specified teaching qualification at level 5 or above, remission from teaching time and additional support such as mentoring.
The package, worth £24 million in total, also includes £10 million to expand the government’s Taking Teaching Further programme – which allows industry professionals working in sectors such as engineering and computing to retrain as further education teachers – to a further 550 people, and £3 million for high-quality mentor training programmes, designed and delivered by the Education and Training Foundation (ETF).
Education secretary Gavin Williamson said the ambition for a “world-beating technical education system” could only be achieved if outstanding teachers are in place.
He said: “I’ve seen first-hand just how much brilliant work is already going on up and down the country. I want to thank the many thousands of further education teachers doing fantastic jobs and changing lives.
“This investment is a clear signal of the government’s commitment to helping the FE sector to continue to recruit and retain excellent teachers who will help to unlock their students’ full potential.“
Association of Colleges deputy chief executive Kirsti Lord said: “Supporting FE providers to recruit and retain the best possible teachers must be a top priority for a government with ambitious plans for improving technical education in this country.
“We are delighted with the new investment from the Department for Education in the sector’s teaching workforce which our members will welcome – and we believe it marks an important step in giving FE teaching the recognition and support that it rightly deserves.”
'Attracting the very best industry talent'
David Russell, chief executive of the ETF, said the organisation was "delighted to continue the important work of attracting the very best industry talent into further education teaching roles through Taking Teaching Further".
“Taking Teaching Further is setting the standard for recruiting world-class teachers and trainers, who combine teaching excellence with hands-on industry experience, and is helping develop and build the country’s future," he added. "I encourage all colleges and FE providers to register and apply to take part in this important programme that will make a real difference to their organisations and learners.”
James Noble-Rogers, the executive director of the Universities’ Council for the Education of Teachers, said that teacher-training providers would welcome the new investment.
He said: “The decision to extend the availability of pre-service training bursaries to a wider group of potential applicants in more subject areas is particularly welcome, and will help to ensure that more individuals can access high-quality teacher training programmes.”
The DfE also announced it would carry out compulsory data collection from colleges. UCU head of further education Andrew Harden said: "The optional approach to workforce data collection has failed and we welcome this move to compulsory collection from colleges. Good-quality data is essential if we are to paint an accurate picture of how staff are being treated by employers across the sector."